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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 23:24 GMT
Big Brother star Jo denies racism
Big Brother's Jo O'Meara
Jo O'Meara was shown mimicking Shilpa Shetty's voice
Former pop singer Jo O'Meara has denied being racist after her eviction from Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother.

"I'm not a racist person at all, I know I'm not," the ex-S Club 7 star said.

Along with Jade Goody, O'Meara was part of a group accused of racist bullying against Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, causing an international outcry.

O'Meara and actress Cleo Rocos left in a double eviction and emerged to a mixture of boos and cheers after chants of "get Jo out" from the crowd.

O'Meara received almost 48% of the vote, while 28% of viewers wanted Rocos to go.

Shilpa did aggravate me a lot - it's not because I'm racist
Jo O'Meara
After being shown TV headlines about the furore and clips of her behaviour, O'Meara admitted: "It does look very bad, it does."

But she told host Davina McCall the edited version of events distorted what really went on.

"Looking at it like that, it looks absolutely terrible and it didn't feel terrible in there," she said.

"I'm not a racist person at all. My cousin is married to an Indian man for one, and my cousins are half-Indian and their family is with me all the time."

Cleo Rocos (left) and Jo O'Meara leaving Celebrity Big Brother
Cleo Rocos (left) and Jo O'Meara received 76% of the votes in total
O'Meara was shown mimicking Shetty's voice but she responded: "We was doing that with her and she was finding that really funny."

Asked about disparaging comments toward Shetty, she replied: "I didn't never mean it in that way. I didn't even know I was doing it. It wasn't a personal attack at all."

She added: "I'm not going to deny that Shilpa did aggravate me a lot - I don't know why. You can't click with everybody you meet.

"It's not because I'm racist at all. I think she's a very beautiful, very elegant woman."

For much of the stay in the house, Shetty was guarded and "I didn't trust her for a long time", O'Meara said.

A spokeswoman for the show said O'Meara would not attend the post-show press conference to give her "a bit of time to digest" what had happened.

Jade Goody on Big Brother
Goody has denied being racist but admitted making racist comments
The live crowd returned on Friday after Goody was met with silence because of security fears when she was evicted last week.

Presenter Davina McCall started the programme by saying: "This series of Celebrity Big Brother has divided the nation like never before and we genuinely regret any offence this has caused some people."

Shetty, former A-Team actor Dirk Benedict and ex-Steps singer Ian "H" Watkins were also up for eviction.

Shetty is now odds-on favourite to win when the show ends on Sunday.

Pop star Jermaine Jackson, model Danielle Lloyd and Goody's boyfriend Jack Tweed are also still in the reality TV house.

Police investigation

Meanwhile, Hertfordshire Police have contacted Goody and her mother Jackiey Budden, who was also on the show, with a view to interviewing the pair.

Before Friday's show, a police spokeswoman said: "An investigation into allegations of racist behaviour inside the Celebrity Big Brother house is continuing.

"Hertfordshire Constabulary can confirm police will be making approaches to speak to housemates if and when appropriate once they have left the house.

"We are also making contact with two of the housemates who have already been evicted but at this stage no interviews have taken place."

Goody has denied being racist but told the News of the World she admitted making racist comments.


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